AAA TEXAS 500: Carl Edwards applied the brakes to Joe Gibbs Racing’s post-season winless streak Sunday night at Texas Motor Speedway, getting a lightning-fast pit stop from his crew and a timely shower from “Mother Nature” to claim victory and secure a spot in the championship race later this month in Miami. As an organization, J-G-R’s four drivers – Edwards, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth – combined to win eleven of the twenty-six regular-season races but were oh-for-seven in this year’s Chase heading into Sunday’s race. Rain delayed the start from afternoon to evening and then stopped the race forty-one laps short of its scheduled distance. In between, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Junior combined to lead 244 laps. But Edwards’ pit crew gave him four fresh tires and fuel in under twelve seconds on their final stop of the night less than forty laps from the finish. The Number-19 Toyota was the first car off pit road and it stayed in front the rest of the way to give Edwards his twenty-eighth career victory and fourth on the Fort Worth oval. Logano grabbed second place after leading a race-high 178 laps. Truex was third with rookie Chase Elliott and Busch – the Number-1 seed in the Chase – completing the top five. Pole sitter Austin Dillon led just six laps and was sidelined by an accident late in the race, finishing thirty-seventh in the forty-car field … With the victory, Edwards joins Jimmie Johnson as the first two drivers to clinch berths in The Championship Four. The six other title contenders will be vying for two remaining spots next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.
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Joe Gibbs Racing announced Tuesday that X-FINITY Series driver Matt Tifft will undergo surgery for removal of a low-grade glioma in the brain. The slow-growing tumor was found recently during treatment and evaluation for a disc condition in his back. Tifft will undergo surgery and rehabilitation soon. Once cleared by physicians, he is expected to return to racing. David Ragan will drive the Number-18 Toyota in Friday night’s Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. Tifft – who turned 20 on Sunda, has made six X-FINITY Series starts this season with a best finish of eighth twice, in back-to-back races at Talladega Superspeedway and Dover International Speedway. He’s also made three starts in the Camping World Truck Series.
After last week’s races, here are the updated facts for the Iowa Speedway.
► With his victory in Sunday’s X-FINITY Series race, Sam Hornish Junior and the Number-18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota snapped Ford’s three-race winning streak at Iowa Speedway. Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski had won the last three events on the seven-eighths-mile Newton oval.
► It’s Joe Gibbs Racing’s third victory at Iowa, which ties the organization for second place on the track’s win list –matching Roger Penske. Jack Roush leads with five.
► William Byron’s win Saturday night in the Camping World Truck Series race and Hornish’s victory on Sunday afternoon gave Toyota a weekend sweep at Iowa Speedway.
► Byron’s victory extends Toyota’s Truck Series domination at Iowa in recent years. The manufacturer has now won five of the last seven races – two by Timothy Peters, two by Erik Jones and now Byron’s victory on Saturday.
The NASCAR X-Finity Series also runs on “The Tricky Triangle” this weekend, with Saturday’s inaugural Pocono Green 250. Daniel Suarez of Joe Gibbs Racing leads the standings by fourteen points over Elliott Sadler. Teams got two practice sessions on Thursday with rookie Erik Jones posting the fastest overall speed of 172.914 miles per hour. Fellow rookie Brandon Jones was second-quick with Kyle Busch, Ty Dillon and Suarez completing the top five. Justin Allgaier had the best average speed over ten consecutive laps – 168.843 miles per hour. There are two more practice sessions today with qualifying Saturday morning.
Toyota heads into the twelfth race of the season with a fifteen-point advantage over Chevrolet in the chase for the Bill France Performance Award, which annually goes to the manufacturer that accumulates the most championship points over the course of the season. Ford is a distant third with Dodge in last place. Toyota drivers have won seven of the year’s first eleven races: four by Busch, two for Jones and one by Denny Hamlin, last weekend in Charlotte …Jones leads the series with four poles.
Next stop Dover International Speedway for Sunday’s Triple-A 400 Drive for Autism, the twelfth race of the 2016 Sprint Cup Series. Going back to last fall, Kevin Harvick has won two of the last three races on one-mile ovals including a dominating victory when the series last visited Dover during the 2015 post-season Chase. Harvick returns atop this year’s regular-season standings, enjoying a four-point advantage over Kyle Busch … And speaking of Busch, his crew chief – Adam Stevens – will sit out Sunday’s race while serving a suspension for violating NASCAR’s new lug-nut rule last weekend at Kansas Speedway. Todd Berrier, who holds the title of director of inspections at Joe Gibbs Racing, will call race strategy for the defending Sprint Cup champion.
Next stop Talladega Superspeedway for Sunday’s GEICO 500, tenth race of the 2016 Sprint Cup Series. The last two races have been run on short tracks in Bristol, Tennessee, and Richmond, Virginia – with Carl Edwards winning both to climb to the top of the regular-season point standings. The last driver to win three straight Sprint Cup races was Joey Logano, who swept the Contender Round of last year’s post-season Chase with victories at Kansas Speedway, Charlotte and Talladega … Edwards finished fifth and thirty-second in last year’s two trips to the Alabama oval … Joe Gibbs Racing has four wins at Talladega, most recently in 2014 with Denny Hamlin.
Carl Edwards lead two-hundred and seventy-six laps to pick up his first win of the 2016 season and fourth win at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Sunday’s Food City 500. Starting from the pole, Edwards maintained good track position throughout the race, piloting his Number-19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to victory on a day that saw several drivers experience trouble at the always difficult half-mile speedway. Dale Earnhardt Jr. rebounded from falling two-laps down at the start of the race to finish second. At the drop of the green flag, Earnhardt Jr.’s stuck throttle safety system activated causing him to retreat to pit road on the first lap to reset the ECU. Kurt Busch led forty-one laps and was in
At the drop of the green flag, Earnhardt Jr.’s stuck throttle safety system activated causing him to retreat to pit road on the first lap to reset the ECU. Kurt Busch led forty-one laps and was in position to challenge Edwards on the final restart with five laps to go, but settled for third. Rookie sensation Chase Elliott and Trevor Bayne rounded out the top five.
Bayne, who started in tenth, fell back to twenty-eighth but battled back to score his first top-five finish in ninety-nine races when he won the DAYTONA 500 in 2011. Edwards was able to escape tire trouble that plagued his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin. Busch, who was looking for his third win in a row, finished a disappointing thirty-eighth tallying his first DNF of the season after making contact with the wall for the third time on lap 258. With the win, Edwards assures himself of a spot in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and moved into second place, one-point behind Kevin Harvick in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Drivers Point Standings. Edwards’ victory made it four-in-a-row for Joe Gibbs Racing. The race included sixteen
The race included sixteen lead changes among seven drivers. There were fifteen cautions for one-hundred and two laps, but no incident involving more than three drivers.
Kyle Busch stormed past race leader Martin Truex Junior thirty-three laps from the finish and kept his Number-18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in front the rest of the way to claim his second victory of the season on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway. Busch led only thirty-four laps, but that included the ones that counted most as he beat runner-up Dale Earnhardt Junior to the checkered flag by four seconds. Joey Logano finished third with Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports rookie Chase Elliott completing the top five.
Truex faded to sixth after his crew elected to bypass a final pit stop for fresh tires while other contenders – Busch included – got new rubber. Truex started third and led a race-high 141 laps in his failed bid for victory Number-1 of 2016. Carl Edwards started from the pole and was strong throughout the first half of the race, leading a total of 124 laps en route to a seventh-place finish.
With the win, Busch assures himself of a spot in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with an opportunity to defend his 2015 championship. It was the second straight weekend sweep for Busch, who won Friday night’s X-FINITY Series race on the Fort Worth oval after claiming Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series victories at Martinsville Speedway one weekend earlier. Saturday’s win lifted Busch from third to first in the Cup Series standings, now six points ahead of Johnson and seven up on Kevin Harvick.
Busch’s victory gave Toyota its first Sprint Cup win at T-M-S since he was victorious in this event in 2013 … The race included seventeen lead changes among eight drivers. There were seven cautions for forty-one laps, including a thirteen-car accident along the backstretch less than forty laps from the finish.
The NASCAR X-Finity Series is in the “The Lone Star State” this weekend for tonight’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300. Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing is the defending winner. The last driver with back-to-back victories in Texas Motor Speedway’s spring race is Kyle Busch, who won three in a row from 2008 through 2010.
There were two practice sessions on Thursday and Jones led them both – posting his best lap in the first of the two sessions, 186.968 miles per hour. The remainder of the top five based on combined speeds includes Ty Dillon, rookie Brandon Jones, points leader Daniel Suarez and Busch. Jones also had the best average speed over a stretch of ten consecutive laps, 178.409 miles per hour.
From the Sprint Cup Series’ shortest track, Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR now moves to one of its fastest ovals with this coming weekend’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The preliminary entry list shows forty drivers led by defending race winner Jimmie Johnson and regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick. The four non-Charter drivers on the list are rookie Ryan Blaney, Cole Whitt, Josh Wise and Reed Sorenson.
Johnson leads all competitors with six victories on the mile-and-a-half Fort Worth oval including three in a row and five of the last seven. Carl Edwards is next in line with three wins … There’s competitive balance among NASCAR’s three participating manufacturers with each brand winning the track’s spring race once over the last three seasons: Chevrolet with Johnson last year, Ford with Joey Logano in 2014 and Toyota with Kyle Busch in 2013.X-FINITY Series teams also will be competing at T-M-S with Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto
X-FINITY Series teams also will be competing at T-M-S with Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300. There are thirty-nine drivers on the preliminary entry led by defending race winner Erik Jones and points leader Daniel Suarez, teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing.
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